GRECs have been around for more than a decade. The Maryland legislature has recently passed legislation to make the program even more robust.
In 2012, Maryland became the first state in the country to make the energy generated by Geothermal Heating and Cooling Systems (GHC) technologies eligible for the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) as a Tier 1 renewable source (which also includes wind, biomass, landfill or wastewater treatment plant-generated methane, ocean, fuel cells, small hydroelectric power plants, poultry litter-to-energy, waste-to-energy, and refuse-derived fuel).
GHC system owners are also eligible for Renewable Energy Credits (RECs), equivalent to 1 MegaWatt-hour (MWh) of electricity.
Maryland House Bill 1007
House Bill 1007, passed in 2021, created a carve-out in Maryland’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) Tier 1 for post-2022 residential and commercial geothermal heating and cooling systems. (Maryland Public Service Commission)
These carve-outs are:
- 0.05% in 2023
- 0.15% in 2024
- 0.25% in 2025
- 0.5% in 2026
- 0.75% in 2027
- 1.0% in 2028 and later.
The bill also set Alternative Compliance Payment (ACP) payment amounts, among other things. At least 25% of the post–2022 geothermal carve out must come from systems installed on “low income” facilities.
Types of Geothermal Systems
Geothermal systems can vary from a closed or open loop system, pond loops, or slinky coil ground loops. Maryland requires a closed or open loop system based on Energy Star's Geothermal Heat Pump Energy Criteria.
How to Qualify
To qualify for RECs, the GHC technologies must:
- Meet ENERGY STAR standards (see Geothermal Heat Pumps Key Product Criteria website for more information)
- Not feed electricity back into the grid
Register your GHC system with the Maryland Public Service Commission
Registering GRECs in Maryland
To register contact SREC@carbonsolutionsgroup.com. We will gather your system information and register you with MD PSC and PJM GATS.
For residential systems, the PSC will use the Climate Master Savings Calculator to estimate the quantity of RECs associated with your system. Please include this in your request to CSG.
For commercial systems, you'll need to send the projected MWh's from your installer’s engineering studies.
GRECs are minted and sold using a REC tracking system such as PJM GATS. An aggregator will broker sales with mandated or independent buyers.
After signing a contract with CSG, the registration process generally takes 1 - 3 months. If, due to the complexity of the installation the calculator cannot be used or if the data is determined to be inaccurate or incomplete, an engineering study may be required. All engineering studies accepted must be approved and stamped by a Maryland licensed professional engineer. These additional requests can prolong registration.
Maryland GREC FAQs
What is the difference between a residential and non-residential geothermal heating and cooling system?
To qualify for residential renewable energy credits (RECs) only, the geothermal heating and cooling system must be installed in a residential home that is not owned by a business. The system must meet ENERGY STAR standards (see Energy Efficiency Requirements for Geothermal Heat Pumps) and not feed electricity back into the grid. A single residential home qualified as low or moderate income housing is also eligible for RECs under the new carve-out if the system was installed on the property on or after January 1, 2023.
To qualify for non-residential RECs, the geothermal heating and cooling system must be installed in a non-residential facility. Non-residential facilities include commercial buildings and multi-family housing units. Supporting documentation must be provided to prove that the system is not for a single residential home. For more information on non-residential system eligibility, please go to Q3.
Who is eligible to receive renewable energy credits for non-residential geothermal heating and cooling system?
Starting January 1, 2023, a person can receive renewable energy credits based on the amount of thermal energy saved by a geothermal heating and cooling system if the person: 1) Owns and operates the systems; 2) Leases and operates the systems; or 3) Contracts with a third party who owns and operates the systems.
What can I do if I installed my non-residential geothermal heating and cooling system before January 1, 2023?
A. According to Public Utilities Article § 7-704(h)(1), a non-residential geothermal heating and cooling system that was placed in service on or before December 31, 2022, is still eligible for RECs. In 2023, Maryland’s Renewable Portfolio Standard requires 31.9% from Tier 1 renewable generation, including residential and non-residential geothermal systems; at least 0.05% of that portion must be derived from post-2022 geothermal systems.
What are the criteria for determining whether a non-residential geothermal heating and cooling system was installed after to January 1, 2023?
The system must be installed at the property on or after January 1, 2023. Documentation of passed final inspection must be provided to prove the date of installation.
What are the eligibility criteria for the non-residential geothermal heating and cooling systems?
The non-residential geothermal energy facility must be installed:
1) At a commercial building; or
2) At multi-family housing units that qualified as low or moderate income housing on the date the system was installed on the property; or
3) At institutions that primarily serve low or moderate income individuals and families, including i) schools with a majority of students who are eligible for free and reduced prices meals; ii) hospitals with a majority of patients eligible for financial assistance or who are enrolled in Medicaid; and iii) other facilities that serve individuals and families where a majority of those is enrolled in Federal or State Safety Net Programs.
4) A system with a 360,000 BTU capacity is eligible for geothermal renewable energy credits only if the Company installing the system provides for its employees:
• Family-sustaining wages;
• Employer-provided health care with affordable deductibles and co-pays;
• Career advancement training;
• Fair scheduling;
• Employer-paid workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance;
• A retirement plan;
• Paid time off; and
• The right to bargain collectively for wages and benefits
The applicant is required to submit an affidavit that describes the eligibility and provides all supporting documentation (e.g. paystubs) to prove the eligibility. Incomplete applications or missing documentations will cause delay in the processing of applications.
How do I know if a geothermal heating and cooling system is considered “low or moderate income”, and how do I provide the information in my renewable energy credit application and why is it important to include this information in my renewable energy credit application?
Low or Moderate Income (LMI) Housing is affordable housing for a household with an aggregate annual income that is below 120% of the area median income.
To qualify for residential LMI single housing carve-out, your two most recent consecutive pay stubs must be provided to prove the LMI eligibility. To qualify for non-residential LMI carve-out (e.g., multi-family housing units and institutions that serve LMI families), two most recent consecutive pay stubs from each household must be provided to prove the LMI eligibility. Incomplete applications or missing documentations will be rejected and cause delay in the processing of applications.
What is the deadline for submitting non-residential applications?
A deadline for submitting non-residential applications for each calendar year is Dec 31. If a system wishes to receive credit for energy saving in a particular year, it must submit a complete application by the deadline for that calendar year. If the applicant misses a deadline, the system will deem ineligible for credits. No back dated credits will be issued. The applicant will have to re-apply the following year.
What is PJM GATS?
PJM GATS means the Generation Attribute Tracking System (GATS). A Renewable Energy Certificate (REC) is created for every megawatt-hour of electricity generated. GATS enables resource owners to convert power into tradable RECs.
More information can be found at: